Washington — A pink pill designed to boost sex drive in women — the latest attempt by the drug industry to find a female equivalent to Viagra — fell short in two studies, federal health regulators said Wednesday.
The Food and Drug Administration is considering Boehringer Ingelheim’s drug flibanserin for premenopausal women who report a lack of sexual desire, a market that drugmakers have been targeting for more than a decade since the blockbuster success of Viagra in men.
The search for so-called “female Viagra” has proved elusive though, with many drugs abandoned after showing lackluster results.
On Friday the FDA will ask a panel of experts to weigh in on the safety and effectiveness of Boehringer’s drug. The agency is not required to follow the group’s advice, though it often does.
In its review posted online, the FDA said two Boehringer studies failed to show a significant increase in sexual desire, as recorded by women in a daily journal. Women taking the drug reported slightly more sexually satisfying experiences, but FDA said that was not the primary measure of the study.
“The division wanted to see that an effect of treatment is an overall increase in sexual desire regardless of whether a sexual event occurred or not,” states the FDA review.
The FDA also noted increased side effects like depression, fainting and dizziness seen among women taking the pink pill.